Thursday, February 24, 2011

Poetry book by disability activist/writer Laura Hershey set for summer release

From the DS-Hum listserve:

Laura Hershey’s new chapbook, Spark Before Dark, includes a wide selection of poems exploring life and language through sharply focused multiple lenses of disability, feminism, and queerness.

Reviewers are moved and energized by Hershey’s work. "These are poems to sustain and inspire," notes Ellen Bass, poet and Lambda Literary Faculty Member.

"The poems in Spark before Dark are not 'about disability.' They are about life in a complex world," writes Jim Ferris, poet and Chair of Disability Studies at University of Toledo.

Poet Jenny Factor describes Hershey's work as "linguistically-potent" writing that allows the reader to "feel her voice intimately inside us as a real and sympathetic presence that made us braver and smarter. Laura Hershey's sinewy, elegant, and whipsmart poems, stuffed with humanity, are here in your hands. Buy this book. Read this book."

Laura Hershey was a Colorado-based writer, poet, activist, and consultant, as well as a 2010 Lambda Fellow in Poetry. She was nationally recognized for her activism and advocacy on a wide range of disability rights and social justice issues. Her poems and essays explore many diverse topics, including body, nature, community, activism, and social justice. She earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, and a Bachelors of Arts in History from Colorado College.

Her poems appeared in numerous anthologies, including Fire in the Soul: 100 Poems for Human Rights, Bigger Than the Sky: Disabled Women on Parenting, and Pushing the Limits: Disabled Dykes Produce Culture; and in journals such as, Bumbershoot, Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, Gertrude, Shakespeare’s Monkey Review, Trillium
Literary Journal, Kaleidoscope, The New Internationalist, and Sinister Wisdom. Forthcoming work will appear in and make/shift.

Hershey's articles and essays were published in U.S. News & World Report, National Parks, Ms. Magazine, the Denver Post, Topic, off our backs, Waccamaw Journal, and New Mobility, among many other publications. In addition to her own blogs at and, Hershey wrote the Life Support blog for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation’s website at
Her work in progress included a book of essays about disability, personal assistance, and independence.

Laura Hershey and her partner Robin Stephens adopted their daughter Shannon in June 2010. Laura passed away after a brief illness on November 26, 2010. More of her work can be found at and on her memorial page at

Spark Before Dark will be released in June 2011. Finishing Line Press determines the number of books printed based on pre-sales, so please order your copy by April 12, 2011. Order online at (scroll
down to Spark Before Dark by Laura Hershey). The price of the book is $12 plus shipping.